Beaumont, Texas facts for kids
|City of Beaumont|
Location in the state of Texas
|• City||85.9 sq mi (222.6 km2)|
|• Land||85.0 sq mi (220.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)|
|Elevation||16 ft (5 m)|
|• Estimate (2015)||118,129|
|• Density||1,339.4/sq mi (517.1/km2)|
|• Urban||147,922 (222th U.S.)|
|• Metro||404,872 (130th U.S.)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP codes||77701–77710, 77713, 77720, 77725, 77726|
|GNIS feature ID||1330268|
|Waterways||Neches River, Pine Island Bayou|
Beaumont (// BOH-mont) is a city in and the county seat of Jefferson County, Texas in the United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located in Southeast Texas on the Neches River about 90 mi (140 km) east of Houston, Beaumont city had a population of 118,296 at the time of the 2010 census, making it the twenty-fourth-most populous city in the state of Texas.
Beaumont was founded as a town in 1835 by Northerners. The early European-American settlement had an economy based on the development of lumber, farming, and port industries. In 1892, Joseph Eloi Broussard opened the first commercially successful rice mill in the state, stimulating development of rice farming in the area; he also started an irrigation company (since 1933 established as the Lower Neches Valley Authority) to support rice culture. Rice became an important commodity crop in Texas, and is now cultivated in 23 counties.
A big change occurred in 1901 with the Spindletop gusher, which demonstrated the potential of the huge oil field. With Spindletop, several energy companies developed in Beaumont, and some continue. The area rapidly developed as one of the major petro-chemical refining areas in the country. Along with Port Arthur and Orange, Beaumont forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Beaumont is home of Lamar University, a national Carnegie Doctoral Research university with 14,966 students, including undergraduates and post graduates. Over the years, several corporations have been based in this city, including Gulf States Utilities which had its headquarters in Beaumont until its takeover by Entergy Corporation in 1993. GSU's Edison Plaza headquarters is still the tallest building in Beaumont (as of 2017).
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In 1824 Noah and Nancy Tevis settled on the west bank of the Neches River and developed a farm. Soon after that, a small community grew up around the farm, which was named Tevis Bluff or Neches River Settlement. In 1835 the land of Tevis, together with the nearby community of Santa Anna (in total, 50 acres (20 ha)), was purchased by Northerners Henry Millard (1796?–1844) of New York, Joseph Pulsifer (1805–1861) of Massachusetts, and Thomas Byers Huling (1804–1865) of Pennsylvania . They began planning a town to be laid out on this land. Their partnership, J.P. Pulsifer and Company, controlled the first 50 acres (200,000 m2) upon which the town was founded. This town was named Beaumont, after Jefferson Beaumont, the brother-in-law of Henry Millard. They added more property for a total of 200 acres.
Beaumont became a town on 16 December 1838. Beaumont's first mayor was Alexander Calder. From the town's founding in 1835, business activities included real estate, transportation, and retail sales. Later, other businesses were formed, especially in railroad construction and operation, new building construction, lumber sales, and communications. The Port of Beaumont became a successful regional shipping center. Beaumont was a small center for cattle raisers and farmers in its early years. With an active riverport by the 1880s, it became an important lumber and rice-milling town. It exported rice as a commodity crop.
The Beaumont Rice Mill, founded in 1892 by Joseph Eloi Broussard, was the first commercially successful rice mill in Texas. In addition, Broussard founded a company to operate an irrigation system to support rice culture. (It became a public institution, the Lower Neches Irrigation Authority.) This helped stimulate the expansion of rice cultivation from 1500 acres in 1892 to 400,000 acres in 23 counties by his death in 1956. Beaumont's lumber boom, which reached its peak in the late 19th century, was stimulated by the rebuilding and expansion of the railroads in the state and region after the Civil War.
The rise of Beaumont's mill economy drew many new residents to the city, many of them immigrants. The first Jewish man in the city was from Louisiana, others migrated from the South, and were joined by immigrants. They worked as merchants and in a variety of jobs in the growing city and ranching area. In 1895 Jews formed their first congregation. By the early 20th century, the city was served by the Southern Pacific; Kansas City Southern, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe; and Missouri Pacific railroad systems.
Oil was discovered at nearby Spindletop on 10 January 1901. Spindletop became the first major oil field and one of the largest in American history. With the discovery of oil at Spindletop, Beaumont's population more than tripled in two months from 9,000 in January 1901 to 30,000 in March 1901. Oil is, and has always been, a major export of the city, and a major contributor to the national GDP.
William Casper Tyrrell, nicknamed "Captain W.C.", was a leading businessman and oil tycoon in the city in the early 20th century, developing businesses during the Texas Oil Boom. An entrepreneur from Pennsylvania and Iowa, he arrived after the gusher at Spindletop, and invested in development of a commercial port in the city, and an irrigation system to support the local rice industry, as well as residential and retail development of suburban property. He was also a philanthropist. He purchased and donated First Baptist Church, whose congregation had moved to a new facility, to use as the city's first public library, now known as the Tyrrell Historical Library.
When the city became a major center for defense shipbuilding during World War II, tens of thousands of rural Texans migrated there for the new high-paying jobs. The Roosevelt administration ordered the defense industry to be integrated, and many Southern whites were working closely with blacks for the first time. Housing was scarce in the crowded city, and racial tensions increased.
In the postwar years, Beaumont's port continued in importance. Although Beaumont's city center is located 85 highway miles from the Houston city center and 60 air miles from city limit boundary to city limit boundary, the city is now considered part of the widespread Houston metropolitan area. As was typical with other cities, postwar highway construction led to the development of new suburbs and dispersal of population in search of new housing. There has been some renewal in Beaumont downtown and people have rediscovered the river.
In 1996, the Jefferson County courts, located in Beaumont, became the first court in the nation to implement electronic filing and service of court documents, eliminating the need for law firms to print and mail reams of documents.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 85.9 square miles (222 km2), of which 85.0 square miles (220 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) (1.07%) is water.
Beaumont lies on Texas' coastal plain, about 30 miles (48 km) inland from the Gulf of Mexico, one hour drive east of Houston, and just south of the dense pine forests of East Texas. The city is bordered on the east by the Neches River and to the north by Pine Island Bayou. Before being settled, the area was crisscrossed by numerous small streams. Most of these streams have since been filled in or converted for drainage purposes. The island directly across from Riverfront Park is called Trinity Island. There are also three other islands in the Neches River around the downtown area/port: Harbor, Smith and Clark.
The city of Beaumont, Texas is within the humid subtropical climate zone. This city is located within the Piney Woods, which cover the eastern region of Texas, as well as adjacent Louisiana. This region of Texas receives the most rainfall in the state, with more than 48 inches (1,200 mm) annually. This is due to the warm gulf waters that carry humid air to the region, where it condenses and precipitates. The humidity of the region greatly amplifies the feeling of heat during the summer.
Hurricanes such as the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, and Hurricane Ike in 2008, also strike the region. Hurricane Ike was the largest and most damaging hurricane to hit Beaumont to date, striking 13 September 2008. Causing $32 billion in damage, it is the third-costliest hurricane in United States history. On 18 August 2009, a tornado hit the west end of Beaumont, and caused damage to several local businesses and cars. Injuries were minimal.
The winters are moderated by warm gulf currents. Wintry precipitation is unusual, but does occur. A recent snow event was 24 December 2004, the first such since 1989. However, more recently, Beaumont and the surrounding areas received a light snow on 11 December 2008, with up to 4 inches (100 mm) in the west end. Beaumont and the surrounding areas received a trace to half an inch of light snow on 4 December 2009. These are the earliest measurable snowfalls at the airport since the late 19th century. Although in unofficial records, Beaumont received as much as 30 inches (760 mm) of snow on 14 February and 15 during the blizzard of 1895 that impacted the gulf coast with unusual cold weather. Unofficially the temperature reported a drop to a low of 4 °F (−16 °C) after the storm. The area suffered a severe ice storm in January 1997.
The Beaumont-Port Arthur region has historically been cited as one of the most polluted urban areas in the United States due to various energy industries and chemical plants in the area. Even so, as of July, 2014, the Beaumont-Port Arthur region was not under any Environmental Protection Agency non-attainment restrictions; however, counties in the Greater Houston area, the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, and El Paso were. As of October, 2014, the Beaumont-Port Arthur area was not under any Texas Commission on Environmental Quality attainment compliance deadlines. Regardless, according to an article published in 2007 focusing on Beaumont's neighbor to the south, Port Arthur, pollution was believed to have caused some general area residents to become sick and has generated debates throughout the media.
|Climate data for Beaumont, Texas (1981–2010 normals)|
|Record high °F (°C)||86
|Average high °F (°C)||62.2
|Average low °F (°C)||42.5
|Record low °F (°C)||11
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.94
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.7||9.8||8.7||6.6||7.8||10.7||11.9||10.8||9.8||7.8||8.5||10.5||113.6|
|Source: NOAA The Weather Channel (records)|
As of the census of 2010, there were 118,296 people, 45,648 households, and 28,859 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,339.4 people per square mile (517.2/km²). There were 48,815 housing units at an average density of 574.2 per square mile (221.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 39.8% White, 47.3% African American, 0.0% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 7.1% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.4% of the population.
There were 45,648 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.7% were married couples living together, 19.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.3% the age of 19 or under, 8.5% from 20 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.4 years. For every 100 females there were 95 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,699, according to the American Community Survey (5 year), and the median income for a family was $49,766. The per capita income for the city was $23,137. About 17.6% of families and 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line.
Arts and theatre
Museums and buildings open for tours
- Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET), with its Perlstein Plaza, dedicated in memory of pioneer real estate developer Hyman Asher Perlstein (1869–1947), who arrived in Beaumont in 1889 as a poor Jewish immigrant from Lithuania and eventually became one of the city's major builders. The museum stands on the site of the Perlstein building, which was the tallest structure between Houston and New Orleans when it was erected in 1907. Only one column still remains from the building. AMSET, formerly the Beaumont Art Museum, exhibits 19th–21st century American art with a collecting focus on Texas art and Folk Art and offers 10–14 educational programs in any given year. Admission is free, and is the only museum open seven days per week.
- Beaumont Children's Museum Started in 2008 and opened in 2012, the museum moved to a temporary location in 2015 to the Beaumont Civic Center
- The Art Studio, Inc. (TASI), a non-profit arts cooperative and art gallery space that rents subsidized space to visual artists. Also hosts poetry readings, music events, film screenings. Housed in a converted warehouse in the industrial district of Beaumont's downtown.
- Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum. Museum dedicated to the life of the Beaumont native and accomplished athlete.
- The Beaumont Art League is the oldest non-profit art gallery in the area, operating for 70 years. The two gallery spaces (at the old Fairgrounds on Gulf Street) host art exhibitions and juried shows year-round, including the notable BAL National Exhibition (formerly the Tri-State Show), which attracts artists from across the country.
- The Chambers House, built in 1906, this home is open for tours. It is filled with period furniture, personal items, and artifacts used in the home.
- The Clifton Steamboat Museum opened its doors on 26 October 1995. The theme of the museum is "Heroes... Past, Present, and Future", honoring military and civilian heroes. The Clifton Steamboat Museum consists of a 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2), two-story museum. Exhibits bring to life the wars fought in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, as well as the Steamboat Era, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam. Upper art galleries of the museum feature original bronze sculptures; Native American artists, wildlife, and frontier paintings from famous artists. A special gallery in the museum is dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America. This gallery features many historical scouting artifacts, some dating before the 1960s. The tugboat, Hercules, 36 feet (11 m) high, 22 feet (6.7 m) wide, and 92 feet (28 m) long, is included on the museum tour. Tours available by appointment only.
- Dishman Art Museum is the university art museum of Lamar University. The museum features 19th and 20th century European and American Art, as well as Tribal Art from Africa and New Guinea.
- Edison Museum – about inventor Thomas Edison The museum features exhibits and artifacts about Thomas Edison and his innovations.
- Fire Museum of Texas – Home of one of world's largest fire hydrants. Antique fire trucks and equipment chronicle the history of firefighting in Texas. Educational programs stress the importance of fire safety.
- The McFaddin-Ward House, was built in 1905–06 in the Beaux-Arts Colonial style and is located in the Oaks Historic District. The structure and its furnishings reflect the prominent family who lived in the house for seventy-five years. This very large historic home has a substantial carriage house. The complex has a substantial permanent collection of antique furniture and household items. Educational programs focus on history and are geared toward children and adults.
- Red Lobster's historical marine museum
- Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum, this complex includes several reconstructed buildings reminiscent of the original Gladys City. The buildings contain artifacts from the period.
Other historic buildings
- Beaumont Commercial District is a collection of historic buildings in downtown, a national historic district registered with the NRHP.
- Crockett Street Entertainment District The entertainment district includes five vintage buildings dating from around the turn of the 20th century. Each of the buildings has been renovated and several have been re-purposed to restaurants and entertainment.
- Jack Brooks Federal Building, built in 1933 as a WPA project.
- Jefferson County Courthouse is an excellent example of Art Deco architecture.
- The Jefferson Theatre, built in 1927, is an historic theater that presents live musical and stage performances as well as limited revival screenings of classic films. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and recognized also as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.
- Julie Rogers Theater was formerly Beaumont's city hall and civic auditorium. The building was renovated to serve as a theater for live performances.
- St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica
- Temple Emanuel (Beaumont, Texas) has a notable set of stained glass windows by Israeli artist Ze'ev Raban
- Tyrrell Historical Library, formerly First Baptist Church; the building is now used as an historical library. It has an extensive collection of genealogical records.
- Symphony of Southeast Texas - Founded in 1953 as the Beaumont Symphony Orchestra, the symphony has been performing several performances each year since then. Several guest artists including Van Cliburn and Ferrante & Teicher have appeared with the symphony.
Tourism and recreation
- The Beaumont Botanical Gardens is located near the entrance to the 500 acre Tyrrell Park. On its 23.5 acre grounds, it includes over ten themed gardens, the 10,000 sq ft Warren Loose Conservatory and a large collection of bromeliads.
- Tyrrell Park and Cattail Marsh - Botanical Gardens and conservatory, Henry Homberg Municipal Golf Course, a 900-acre Cattail Marsh nature area, a 2.8 mile nature trail. restrooms, shelters, Babe Zaharias Drive Monument, baseball backstop, lighted basketball goals, benches, drinking fountains, 2.8-mile (4.5 km) nature trail, picnic tables
- Ford Park The park includes the Ford Arena with a 9,737 seating capacity, an 18,000 seat pavilion, twelve competition softball fields, and exhibit halls.
In downtown Beaumont
Downtown Beaumont is the center of Business, Government and night time entertainment in southeast Texas. Downtown features the Crockett Street Entertainment Complex with entertainment options from dancing, to live music to dining or a bar. In addition to the night time entertainment downtown also features a museum district with five distinct museums.
Other entertainment and recreation venues located downtown include the following.
- Beaumont Civic Center - The 6,500 seat civic center is located in downtown Beaumont.
- Event Centre - The Event Centre and plaza is located at 700 Crockett Street between the streets of Neches and MLK Pkwy. The Event Centre opened on July 7, 2012. Outdoor features include a twelve-acre Great Lawn for concerts and a walking path. A 3,800 sq ft canopy with stage overlooks the twelve acre Great Lawn. A 14,000 sq ft canopy overlooks a two-acre lake with a thirty-five foot fountain. A a 16,000 sq ft event hall is used for indoor events.
- Beautiful Mountain Skate Plaza - Located adjacent to the Event Centre at the corner of Magnolia Street and Laurel Avenue is the 10,000 sq ft skate park. The skate park grand opening was on August 17, 2013. The park includes ledges, rails, banks, bank-to-bank, quarter pipes, and stairs. The park also has an amphitheater for other events.
- Beaumont Country Club
- Tyrrell Park - Henry Homberg Golf Course
- Brentwood Country Club
- Bayou Din Golf Club
Within 30 minute drive
- Big Thicket National Preserve, located north of Beaumont, hiking, canoe paddling, and swimming are some of the available activities.
- McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, located about 30 minutes away from Beaumont, the refuge provides nature trails as well as photography, fishing, and hunting activities.
- Sea Rim State Park, about 30 minutes from Beaumont adjacent to the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, Sea Rim State Park provides access to Gulf of Mexico beaches as well as hiking trails.
- Village Creek State Park is located just north of Beaumont. Numerous activities including canoe paddling are provided.
- Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, located in Orange, about 20–25 minutes east of Beaumont, Shangri-La Gardens has sculptured gardens and natural settings, as well as boat tours.
- Stark Museum of Art, also located in Orange, provides several exhibits.
- Since 1907, Beaumont has been home of the South Texas State Fair and Rodeo, held at Ford Park during March. It is the second-largest fair in the state, attracting more than 500,000 visitors in 2009. The fair features a livestock show, a commercial exhibition, a carnival midway and numerous food choices. The Fair moved from the Fair Park Coliseum to Ford Park in 2004, a new, larger facility on the west end of Beaumont. The fair was previously held in the fall but was moved to spring after hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 caused its cancellation twice within three years. YMBL Championship Rodeo is held at Ford Park during the South Texas State Fair. The rodeo is an annual event and is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Admission to the rodeo is included in fair admission.
- The Gusher Marathon, organized in 2010 by the local nonprofit Sports Society for American Health, is the city's first annual marathon. The Gusher takes place in March and includes a 5K, half marathon and full marathon. The course begins at the Montagne Center of Lamar University and tours Downtown and Lamar before returning to the Montagne.
- The Beaumont Jazz & Blues Fest is a Jazz festival held in downtown Beaumont since 2005.
- The Boomtown Film and Music Festival is a film and music festival that began in 2008 to replace the Spindletop Film Festival.
- Dog Jam is a rock concert held annually at Ford Park.
- July 4 Celebration - Each year, a July 4 celebration is held in downtown Beaumont. The celebration includes live music in and around Riverfront Park, a concert by the Symphony of Southeast Texas in the Julie Rogers Theatre, followed by a fireworks display viewed from Riverfront Park.
- Downtown Winter Parade - On the first Saturday of December, downtown hosts the Beaumont Downtown Winter Parade. The parade features floats that travel down Main, College and Pearl streets. In recent years the parade has also featured a lighted boat parade that travels down the Neches River; spectators can watch from Riverfront Park.
- Neches River Festival Parade - Part of the Neches River Festival held in April, this is a downtown parade. The festival has been held since 1948.
Jack Brooks Regional Airport (BPT), located 9 miles (14 km) south of Beaumont's central business district, serves the region with regional jet flights nonstop to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW), Texas with this scheduled passenger service being operated by American Eagle on behalf of American Airlines. The Beaumont Municipal Airport (BMT) near the western city limit is available for general aviation travel.
Amtrak's Sunset Limited serves Beaumont's train station.
The city operates the Beaumont Municipal Transit System, a citywide bus system called (BMT).
Beaumont has 8 buildings over 100 feet (30 m) tall, the tallest being the Edison Plaza, which is 254 feet (77 m) tall. The old Edson Hotel, built in 1928 is nearly the same height at 240 feet (73 m). One of the most prominent downtown buildings is the 15-story San Jacinto Building. Built in 1921, it sports one of the largest four faced clock towers in the nation, each dial being 17 feet (5.2 m) in diameter. In 1922 the 11-story Hotel Beaumont was built across the street from the San Jacinto. The Hotel Beaumont bears a resemblance to the old Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta. The second oil boom of 1925 brought more people and wealth to Beaumont, the same year the 12-story American National Bank Building (now Orleans Building), was erected, and in 1926 Forrest Goodhue built the 12-story Goodhue Building which included a penthouse. In 1928, the Edson Hotel was built. No other buildings were built until Century Tower in 1962 and in 1982 Edison Plaza was built. In 1994 the 12-story LaSalle Hotel, built in 1927, was demolished.
The Jefferson Theatre was built in 1927 by the Jefferson Amusement Company for $1 million and was Beaumont's showpiece for many years. In 1928 the City Hall and Auditorium was built. It is now the Julie Rogers Theater.
Beaumont's Jefferson County Courthouse is one of the tallest county courthouses in the state and is an excellent example of Art Deco architecture. Across the street from the Jack Brooks Federal Building is the Kyle Building, built in 1933. The storefront was recently restored and is considered to be one of the best examples of Zig-Zag architecture in Texas.
The Oaks Historic District has many restored historic homes.
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